If you want to do well in the domain name business, you need an expert who knows what they're doing in this multifaceted industry. The domain industry has rules and regulations and a strong IT background. If you don't know which mistakes to avoid, your domain name can become a liability instead of an asset. The industry is often overwhelming for newcomers, but not for today's guest, who knows exactly what he is talking about!
Claus Barche joined InterNetX more than 15 years ago and is currently serving the registrar as Head of Sales. He has the expertise and experience to ensure that the provision of domain name services are smooth sailing from start to finish. Not only do you need to know what your customers require, but also precisely how they want it. And you must be able to deliver on those needs time and time again. With such extensive experience in buying, selling and managing domains, he knows how to do business with domain services like a pro! Claus, welcome to It's all about domains!
You took your first steps in the domain industry 15 years ago. What path led you to InterNetX?
I registered my first domain name while freelancing. Those were the early years of social media. I used to manage some Facebook pages and create websites for clients and had to register their domain names. So, I already knew what a domain was back then, but I had never heard of the term "registrar" before! This understanding came in 2008 when I got to know the former top management of InterNetX at a business event. This encounter turned into a full-time job at the company in Regensburg.
My first task at InterNetX was to set up social media accounts for the company. While managing the company's marketing activities, I increasingly came into contact with customers, to whom I found myself introducing our products and services. The natural next step was to move on to the Sales Department, where I've now been Head of Sales for more than ten years, presenting InterNetX products and services to better meet our customers' needs.
What makes doing business with domain services special and unique?
You often hear domains referred to as "digital assets." Of course, this may be true from a purely business point of view, but domains represent your brand and your vision. For me, domain names are something very personal. They're like your name—you pick them, they represent who you are and then you live with them for a long time.
There are infinite naming possibilities and they can be used for multiple scopes. Hundreds of new TLDs have been introduced in the past years, and ICANN will soon launch the Round 2 Program, giving us even more new extensions to work with. That is why they are more than a static technical infrastructure of the DNS. I consider them "living" elements of the digital world. Furthermore, this industry has a lot of different players, niches and sub-niches with different needs. From registry partners to domain resellers, companies and domain investors. The scenario is vast and diversified, offering a lot of variation on the job, so you always stay energized!
Each year, you meet partners at many global events. How do you organize your work on these occasions, and what business goal do you pursue?
The domain industry has a vital component in networking. That's why you can find us at virtually every industry event. InterNetX works with about 30,000 partners worldwide, and events provide the perfect opportunity to meet with these partners in one location over just a few days.
The preparation greatly depends on the type of event. At an event like NamesCon, I can meet our registry partners or domain investors, and so I schedule my appointments on topics and collaborations relevant to this target group. We have strengthened our partnership with Sedo in recent years, and we are happy to be by our side on various occasions to provide better solutions for domain investors.
With regard to my goal when I attend a meeting, my intentions are not merely devoted to concluding a sale on that occasion. InterNetX has the best solutions on the market and I aim to introduce them to as many people as possible. I consider my goal achieved when one person goes home and associates the concept "domain name" with "Claus at InterNetX."
Doing business with domains means dealing with prices. How are domain name prices handled?
The price of a domain can range from less than a dollar up to six-digit figures. As with most goods on the global market, the supply-demand ratio determines the value. Anything that meets a current demand in the market or is "trendy" will have a higher price. For example, there has been much talk about NFT and crypto in the last two years. Domains with these keywords have skyrocketed in demand and price. Of course, several other elements determine the price of a domain name. Short and meaningful domain names under the most registered TLDs are usually more expensive.
In the domain business environment, the price is often the result of negotiations between registries, registrars and resellers/investors. It is here that the previously mentioned importance of meeting business partners at events comes into play. During these occasions, we discuss prices, bulk pricing options, promotions and other conditions. InterNetX tries to put its network in motion as a man-in-the-middle to help its customers get domains at the best possible price.
How do we know what a domain is worth? Regardless of what you use your domain for, its price depends on several factors. Learn about seven factors that determine the price of a domain.
According to your experience, what domain-related problems do businesses face?
Businesses often start off with a few domains related to their brand name and register more while growing. These early moves trigger the work of investors, who begin registering domains in which the company might be interested—making possible future expansions more difficult. A proactive brand protection strategy fortifies the company against future problems during its development. Registering numerous domains under different TLDs also means complying with specific registration requirements. For example, having a registered office in the relevant country is mandatory for some ccTLDs.
But above all, companies need an expert who has all the knowledge required to deal with domain names across the board. A job profile for something akin to Domain Manager does not exist or is extremely rare. Such a professional should hold in-depth IT knowledge around DNS and domain security, have marketing skills related to branding and some sales competence to quantify the value of a domain as an asset. Many businesses, including big brands, therefore rely on a partner like InterNetX, who specializes in this multidisciplinary area and can cover all domain-related aspects.
When we talk about domain management, we cannot but mention AutoDNS. What is the future of this all-in-one platform developed by InterNetX?
AutoDNS is a forward-looking platform, with the constant ongoing release of improvements and new features, which we announce in our AutoDNS Changelog Product Update and on our AutoDNS Twitter channel. At the end of 2022, we launched the latest version of AutoDNS with a feature our reseller partners were eagerly awaiting: the ability to set individual prices for customers.
AutoDNS is an intuitive tool for domain management, including servers and certificates combined with other extras, such as domain-blocking services. In my opinion, it’s becoming more and more of a tool to manage digital presence. In the future, we will be releasing new features that are useful for specific niches in the domain business. The European directive NIS2 is coming soon and this will require us to modify how registrant data is stored. Overall, we will continue to work on everything related to domains and domain services and will get ready for the implementation of new TLDs on our platform.